When Donovan de Ligt was twenty years old, his mum inexplicably gave away his favourite jersey.
His Bradley Clyde replica jersey, which featured Bega Cheese on the sleeves held a special place for Donovan, but while he was away on a posting for work, it was given as a parting gift to the familly’s American exchange student.
“I could not believe it,” de Ligt said. “I didn’t find out until two months later. I’d come home and was checking through my cupboard – I had three or four jerseys at that stage. I tried explaining to my mum, but she did not understand the gravity of the situation.”
Although Donovan hasn’t seen that jersey since, he was ecstatic when he was sent a 2020 Player Cut Jersey signed by the entire Raiders team as part of the Membership Surprise and Delight Reward.
To show appreciation for the loyalty shown by Raiders members, the club decided to thank 17 randomly selected members with this prize and Donovan was certainly surprised at first.
“It was completely unexpected,” de Ligt. “I got this little red note in the mailbox saying to go to the Bungendore Post Office.
“I drove out there and thought, ‘What have I bought?’. I found this black box and I’m standing on the side of the road in Bungendore, nobody around. I opened it up and I was like ‘Oh my goodness!’. Not much blows me away these days but I was completely blown away.
“I felt like telling anyone down the main street. I brought it with me all day and when I went to a meeting, I told everyone. It’s become part of my Raiders story.”
“It’s so amazing. I’m not an emotional guy, but I had a tear in my eye.”
Receiving the jersey in 2020 makes the gift even more special for Donovan who started the year with the Rural Fire Service helping fight the horrific bushfires and also was responsible for the COVID Safety Response for his current workplace.